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Posts Tagged ‘winning’

YOUR PLACE IN THE NATION – 3 JULY 2016 AM banner_PRAY4AUS_web_1200x628_1605

Today we begin a series on prayer through July 2016. I would like to open by reading Winston Churchill’s speech from the Second World War. Winston Churchill’s speech ‘we shall fight them on the beaches’ is one of the defining speeches during the second world war. It uses the technique of repetition to very good effect.

Winston Churchill – 4 June 1940

“I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.

At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government-every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation.

The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength.

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail.

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France,

we shall fight on the seas and oceans,

we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,

we shall fight on the beaches,

we shall fight on the landing grounds,

we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,

we shall fight in the hills;

we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”

The context was war. The threat is very real and very serious. This is how we as Christians here in Australia must perceive and understand the situation within our own nation. Think about the spiritual condition of the nation. We are at war with satan, with spiritual forces that want to remove the gospel and the power of God from the nation and reduce Christianity to a powerless religion. Is that what you want? If not then this is a rallying cry for all of us and for anyone who will hear.

The result of this speech of Winston Churchill was to unite the people of Great Britain to call them to action and to give them a belief that the victory as achievable.

There is no complaining in this time of focus, no focus on the small things that seem inconvenient. The focus is now on the main thing that really matters. They understood the threat, they knew their job, and they chose to never give up.

There is a spirit realm, and we live in it we are surrounded by it. It is always active and always talking to us. We must not be ignorant of the devil’s devices. Many Christian’s live their daily lives oblivious to the activity of the spirit realm around them. Powerless to recognise it, and powerless to shift it or change situations and circumstances affected by it. Instead God calls us to rule and reign with Him in it! We are people of authority! Do you wield that authority?

Ephes 6:12 AMP

12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.

Luke 10:19 AMP

Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you.

There is an enemy. A decline in the power and effectiveness of Christianity in Australia shows that the enemy has won some victories. The church needs a renewal, a boost to revive the life and power of the church. Godlessness abounds through the efforts of some to redefine marriage, promote the extremely ungodly Safe Schools Program and understanding that in Victoria we have the worst Abortion laws in the western world.

Your job or role is to influence the spirit realm not to let it influence you. HOW?

We must pray! Never feel that your prayers are powerless or worthless. You can move mountains when you pray. What convinces you? Satan’s message that prayer is boring, irrelevant and powerless OR God’s prompting of the Holy Spirit in your life saying, “All men aught always to pray and not give up!”  God calls us to pray.

2 Chron 7:14 AMP

If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.

ONE Thing I want you to know – YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE THINGS

Through Worship – Remember the story of Jehoshaphat. Through declaration – Say to this mountain – Mark 11:23 AMP

Think about your family today, is it where it should be?  If not do not despair, it can change. It’s time to pray, and to pray with a real belief that you can make a difference and things will change. This month we will be seeking to inspire you the ray and to discover the power that you have in prayer.

Think about your church. It’s time to pray for revival. To pray for souls, miracles and money. To have a passion for the church as a whole and your church here at Plenty Valley. What we long to see is many people coming to Christ. Pray for the people you know and are close to. Pray for this local area.

Think about your nation. Pray for the rise of the church. That Christianity will be leading and influencing in this land. That we will experience righteousness in the land.

ONE thing that I believe we can do as a result of this message is – PRAY – In your world – Make time – For example think how you would make time if you had a kid sick in Hospital. Pray with others   –  Get together in UC Groups, at Church Mon-Fri 6-7am, at Church – Sunday 31st 12.30 – 1 hour.

Listen to the words of Jesus today, “Will you not watch (pray) with me one hour?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Describe your prayer practice in an average week.
  2. Why do we feel inadequate in prayer sometimes?
  3. What can we do to overcome the reluctance to pray?
  4. Work out a positive plan to pray in the UC group each time you meet.
  5. What goal can you set to pray in your own personal time between now and next time you meet at UC group?

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Did any heads turn when you used faith? Activate Faith

Did anyone gasp when you used faith?

Did anyone criticise you when you stepped out in faith?

Does this video make you squeamish?

The Story…

 

Matthew 14:22-30 (MSG)

Walking on the Water

22-23 As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.

24-26 Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror.

27 But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”

28 Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”

29-30 He said, “Come ahead.”

Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”

In this story Peter chooses to obey Jesus even though all the natural knowledge and instincts were telling him, “No don’t do it!”

Have you heard the voice of God? It’s that nagging feeling that you can’t get rid of. It’s like you conscience gnawing away at you on the inside except when it’s God’s voice there’s an urgency attached to it. You can ignore it for 30 years but it still feels more urgent every year.

Peter turned heads with his big day out. When was he last time people noticed your faith?

It’s vital to hear the voice of God

We get caught up in the hum drum of daily lives. God waits patiently by.   He has already spoken the command to us and we are preoccupied with the petty unimportant trivialities of life.

Are you ready to step out of the boat and activate your faith?

 

What has He called you to do?

MY STORY

When I was at Uni – I wanted to serve God. That was passion, commitment and dedication talking. But what was God saying? “Get a job!”

Can you hear God say what you don’t want to hear?

Then later when I’m settled into to a high paying job, God calls – “Now come and work for me” So now I ask God directly, What do you want me to do? He responds with these words etched into my heart; “What good is an arrow that never flies, what good is a wind that never blows, what good is a fire that never burns?”

God usually speaks in a way that you least expect and couldn’t make it up.

I was expecting a “Yes” or “Wait on me” or “Your time has not yet come”

Isn’t it time to activate your faith?

So many times we have heard it and we discount that word.

 

Obedience has a cost.

The disciples

Luk 5:10  And so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon (Peter). And Jesus said to Simon, Have no fear; from now on you will be catching men!

Luk 5:11  And after they had run their boats on shore, they left everything and  joined Him as His disciples and sided with His party and accompanied Him.

MY STORY

Five years at Uni. I had a new job an Electrical Engineer paying well. My whole career was ahead of me. I came to work for a church in an unskilled position for a quarter of the pay. Then after about 6 months the church went through a financial crisis and my pay was halved. We learned faith. Is God our provider or not?

WHEN WILL YOU GET OUT OF THE BOAT AND OBEY GOD?

Fear will stop you obeying God.

Peter

Mat 14:26  They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror.

Mat 14:27  But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”

Mat 14:28  Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”

The mind is often an adversary in your walk with God. It will think of a huge number of reasons why obeying God is a bad idea. Think of Peter’s dilemma. How experts would be happy to give you advice that walking on water is just impossible?

Fear will target your insecurity.

If I obey God how will I provide for myself?

Wrong – God is your provision.

Fear will target what others think.

If I obey God every one will think that I am a fanatic, unbalanced, crazy even!

Wrong – Psa_118:6  The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? [AMP]

Ultimately, eternity will tell the story of your obedience.

In a million years from now – what will really be important to you?

What decisions will really impact eternity?

2Co 5:10  For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive [his pay] according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil [considering what his purpose and motive have been, and what he has achieved, been busy with, and given himself and his attention to accomplishing]. (AMP)

I want to draw your attention to what God has called you to do. Not the day to day little acts of obedience, though they are important, but to what the big picture call is saying to you.

That has God asked of you – what has He called you to do?

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE TO ACTIVATE YOUR FAITH?

Maybe for you, activating your faith looks like this….

  1. You decide to go to Schoolies with Red Frogs this month.
  2. You decide to give that amount God put on your heart for Kingdom Advance Offering.
  3. You stand up in class and share your faith.
  4. You quit your job because you actually believe there’s something better for you.
  5. You decide to follow Jesus in spite of what your family and friends say or think.

Put aside fears, forget what others will say about you, look past the inconvenience of today and get out of the boat!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. When was the last time you were scared to act in faith?
  2. So you failed once, why wouldn’t you have another go?
  3. When was the time you stepped out in faith and you’re proud of it -tell your story.
  4. What is the faith challenge you face right now?
  5. When will you step out in faith?

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FAITH ACTIVATION   #1AM Activate Faith

This year we have been sharing about faith the whole year. I hope it has been a year of growth for you. Have you noticed that your faith is growing? Have you activated your faith? How do you actually tell if your faith is activated?

Remember the story of Peter getting out of the boat and walking on the water? I hope that sometimes you feel like Peter as he stepped out onto the water that day. The feeling of sheer panic, exhilaration and bold courage all mixed in together that makes you feel truly alive!!!!!!

That’s stepping out in faith and activating your faith. Maybe for you it looks like speaking up boldly and sharing your faith in the office where you work even though you are fearful of repercussions. Maybe for you it’s choosing to be a giver even when money is tight because you have a confidence that God will supply all your needs.

Here’s a story about faith activation.

Mark 2:1-5 ESV

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Jesus seeing their faith…

Did you know God sees everything? He’s what’s called Omnipresent. He’s everywhere. He’s watching over you all the time. There’s never a moment in your life where God is not present with you in reality. God is never far away.

“Jesus seeing their faith” – faith is something you can see!!!

CAN PEOPLE SEE YOUR FAITH? – How would they see it?

Is your faith activated?

About four years ago Chris and I decided to go to the gym. We did this because wanted to be healthy, to be fit and to not loose muscle mass as we age. We have been going an average of 3 times a week for four years. See Tas for evidence. Tas sees all!!! If I said I want to be fit, but then never went to the gym, then I would just be full of hot air!! There would be no evidence that I really want to be fit. But if you see me physically present at the gym then you know I actually believe that I want to get fit.

Do you get it?

My actions show what I truly believe, better than what I say.

The truth is I also want to be “faith-fit” I want to develop my faith so that it grows and gets “pecs”! But can I get more faith, or grow in faith, just by talking about it? No, I must do something to show my faith.

Do you believe that the bible is divinely inspired and the infallible word of God? If the answer is, yes, and you actually believe that, then you would demonstrate that by reading the bible lots! So your record of bible reading is the evidence of how much you believe that it’s the word of life and how hungry you are to receive that life.

All throughout your life you are acting and behaving in ways that demonstrate what you really believe deep down on the inside. What you really have as values in your heart will be shown by your actions.

So if you want to be faith fit, what does that look like?

Maybe it would look like this…

  1. You would be active in inviting people to one of the 5 services for Christmas in December.
  2. You will come to the Kingdom Advance dinner this Saturday night and sow financially into the missions projects of our church.
  3. You are praying for the people you love around you.
  4. You head off to your UC group because you believe you have a place to love give and serve one another there.

When you have faith it shows!

James 2:14-26 ESV

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[a] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Faith without works is dead – it’s all talk!!

Abraham showed by his amazing actions that he truly believed what God had spoken to him. He believed that his son would be the beginning of countless offspring. So when God asked him to sacrifice his son, he just believed that somehow he would live! He would either be raised or God would let him live.

THAT’S EXTREME FAITH – BETTER MAKE SURE YOU HEARD FROM GOD!

Abraham could have said I believe in God and what He said, but that would not have been sufficient. God said, “Show me.”

Rahab the harlot lived in the wall if the city of Jericho. She heard about Israel and decided “I know whose side I want to be on!” and she hid the spies that came to scout the land. They made her a promise. When we come back with our army we will spare you and anyone in your family (same promise today) if you hang a scarlet thread out the window to indicate that this is where you live. She obeyed – she showed her faith by her works.

Some years ago Chris and I met a great young man in one of the restaurants here at Plenty Valley Town Centre. His name was Nick. We shared our faith with him. Then over the years we kept on bumping into him often in the shopping centre. He had changed jobs but we saw him every six months or so and had a short chat.

Then about two weeks ago we bumped into him again this time shopping in Woolworths. He had a story to tell about how he felt God was trying to reach out to him. I shared with him that Jesus loved him and wanted to reach into his life and gave him a card with the church address. Then only last Thursday he showed up at church unannounced. (Often I’m not here on a Thursday) and he asked me an important question. Within 15 minutes he had invited Jesus into his heart.

Faith without works is dead. If you believe that Jesus died for each person you meet, then you take action and share with them the good news.

So let’s have a passion to get fit!! Faith fit!! You can get faith fit by…

  1. Reading your bible regularly.
  2. Listening to the podcasts of all the faith messages.
  3. Decide to step out of the boat and act in faith.

Here’s a way to take action to show your growing faith….

  1. Invite people to come this Christmas to one of the services where we have a special Christmas presentation every Sunday morning and night in December.
  2. Give financially to the Kingdom Advance Dinner this Saturday night.
  3. If you haven’t done so yet – give your life to Christ.

May each of us experience faith activation now and on into the future.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Have you ever had that feeling that Peter might have had when he tried to step out of the boat and walk on the water? A kind of feeling of sheer panic, exhilaration and bold courage all mixed in together that makes you feel truly alive? If so what was your challenge?
  2. What holds you back to step out in faith?
  3. Are there some areas of life where you have faith and other areas where you find it hard to have faith?
  4. How do you decide to step out in faith?
  5. In what ways can you build and increase your faith?

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Heroes of Faith Full

HEROES OF THE FAITH #2AM – OVERCOMING THE ODDS

 

 

Today I want to speak to you about this powerful truth – Heroes of the faith hang on to God.

Tough situations face people all day every day. We know we have life pretty good here in Australia as we live in a place where average household income is among the highest in the world, we do not experience war and displacement like some do at present and for us in Melbourne, it’s now four years in a row that our city has been ranked the most liveable city in the world! In contrast imagine the pain experienced by families fleeing Syria or those affected by war in Africa, poverty in South Sudan or many other places. We are blessed and secure, for sure.

However, that doesn’t mean every person experiences delight every day. There is pain in life for many. Challenges that make giving up seem attractive. One precious family in this church has five children and four of them are on the Autism spectrum. That’s a challenging life, and for that couple both mum and dad are full time carers for the family. These challenges are never chosen but thrust upon a person by life. It takes faith to choose to endure, to rejoice and to make a difference for others when you have your own mountain to climb.

Listen to this story of heartbreak in the bible:

2 Kings 4:1-7 (AMP) Now one of the wives of a man of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha [for help], saying “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant [reverently] feared the Lord; but the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves [in payment for a loan].” 2 Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have [of value] in the house?” She said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a [small] jar of [olive] oil.” 3 Then he said, “Go, borrow containers from all your neighbours, empty containers—and not just a few. 4 Then you shall go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour out [the oil you have] into all these containers, and you shall set aside each one when it is full.” 5 So she left him and shut the door behind her and her sons; they were bringing her the containers as she poured [the oil]. 6 When the containers were all full, she said to her son, “Bring me another container.” And he said to her, “There is not a one left.” Then the oil stopped [multiplying]. 7 Then she came and told the man of God. He said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”

Disaster has struck! A young dad dies in his prime. The grief would be sky high! But there’s worse to come! He was in debt – up to the eyeballs! A young deeply religious family torn apart by loss and grief now facing removal of young boys as slaves. This woman was in a very desperate situation. Let’s look a bit deeper into this situation. This is Israel and there’s some pretty strong safeguards around people’s economic wellbeing here. Every seven years all debts are cancelled, people get to start over. More than that in Israel God commanded people to loan without charging interest to your brothers.  Being a son of the prophets meant that this man was supported by the religious community as a man of God, possibly even as an employee of Elisha himself. No doubt they would have experienced miracles of provision and seen God’s hand of supply often – yet for all this the man of God was in debt!

Perhaps some unwise decisions, perhaps some negative circumstances, perhaps the father was unfaithful to God in his administration of duties – we don’t know. What we do know is that this young wife is now in very deep trouble. When the odds are stacked against you, what do you do? You go to God! You go to the man of God. It would be so easy for this young widow to see God as the problem. She cries out to Elisha, “My husband is dead, you know he reverently feared the Lord.” In other words, Elisha, my husband should not be dead! He was a good man, more than that a godly man! My husband served you as a prophet and what good did it do him? God why did you take his life? Yes he borrowed but had he lived, he had a plan to repay over so many years. We had it all worked out!!

Life takes a turn and things change even when you are a believer, a person who trusts in God, yet events can change in your life in ways that you just were not prepared for.  You can get mad, you can tell God off, you can choose to run away; but in the end, your hope is in God. When the chips are down this verse holds me strong in faith: Romans 8:32 (AMP)

32 He who did not spare [even] His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?

Heroes of the faith hang on to God.

There is not a few stories of a mother coming to God with a big ask. This young mother was in deep trouble and she went looking for the man of God – Elisha. If there was going to be a miracle it would come through the man of God. When your heart is breaking and there seems to be no answer, choose faith! When it seems like God doesn’t care, choose faith; or that things don’t make sense, choose faith! When the odds are stacked against you – choose faith!

This young mum came to Elisha and asked for help. He straight away asked her, “What do you have of value?”  There is always a seed in your house somewhere that God can multiply. Find the seed and give it to God. She knew there was some oil, it wasn’t much but God didn’t need a lot, just something that could be placed in His hands for multiplication. The oil multiplied and the miracle only stopped when they ran out of vessels to pour it into. The answer came because this young mum chose to hang onto God. She was a hero of the faith.

Heroes of the faith hang on to God.

I want to share with you the story of William Carey who took the gospel to India.

In the late 1700’s William Carey a Baptist minister in Northamptonshire in England got a vision to take the gospel to the remote parts of the earth and was the founder of the Baptist Missionary Society. He took many years to convince church leaders that people in lands like India could even be saved, such was the ignorance of the population at that time they were seen by some as less than human and not capable for being saved.  In 1800 Carey set sail for India and only made it to the Isle of White, where the captain refused to take him further. Later a Dutch captain was persuaded to take him the rest of the way. After a few years there Carey’s wife went insane and one of his children died. He had great trouble converting Hindus to the gospel. Even after preaching five nights a week for many years not a single man was converted. He had one local man who had been converted to Christianity and assisted Carey in translating the bible into Sanskrit. After seven years of working with Carey and seeing no converts this Indian convert backslid and turned away from God. Later floods twice destroyed his plantation that Carey managed so that he could raise funds for the work there, things seemed very very bleak indeed. Listen to what Carey says when he writes back to the church leaders in England about his plight, “Though my disappointments may yet be 1000 time greater, yet I have this hope – the goodness and the faithfulness of God.”

Heroes of the faith hang on to God.

 When things get you down, choose faith. When you want to give up, choose faith. When it seems like nothing makes sense anymore, chose faith. Heroes of the faith choose faith when the odds are stacked against them. This church is full of people who chose faith. Their stories are theirs to tell. When you need inspiration to overcome great difficulties read about the heroes of faith in the bible and in church history. When you need inspiration to keep going look around you. There’s people right here who have overcome.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Would you agree that everyone suffers a set back at some time in their life and feels like giving up?
  2. Do you think its strange that we live in such a great nation and have so much and yet we all still experience challenging times?
  3. Compare your own challenges with those of say a refugee from Syria trying to flee war.
  4. How do you know God cares about you when your stuck in an impossible situation?
  5. What would help you to make a decision to never give up but keep pressing into God?

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SHARING FAITH #3PM04032011-share-your-faith  – March 15, 2015

One day I came home and across the road from where I live I saw smoke curling up from the roof of the house opposite our place. There were already a few neighbours on the street running around and calling 000 and thinking about what to do next. The house was obviously on fire and everyone wondered what to do next. One guy drove past the house just before I arrived home and saw the smoke and stopped. He banged on the door to see if anyone was home but no one answered. He could have walked away but he peered through the front window and saw a person moving around inside. So he banged harder on the door.

Eventually a young boy came out and this man was able to say “Get out, your house is on fire!” The boy’s grandmother was also in the back of the house. They both got out safely. The boy had been instructed by his parents, “Don’t answer the door if anyone comes.” It was stranger danger fear, but it almost cost two lives!

Did you know that every person you know who hasn’t trusted in Jesus Christ as their saviour is sitting in a smouldering house! They too are in great danger and they need someone to bang on the door with some important news.

Like this boy in the story – they have been given incomplete information. Like the grandmother and boy in this story – they were in danger but didn’t know it.

John 3:36 And he who believes in (has faith in, clings to, relies on) the Son has (now possesses) eternal life. But whoever disobeys (is unbelieving toward, refuses to trust in, disregards, is not subject to) the Son will never see (experience) life, but [instead] the wrath of God abides on him. [God’s displeasure remains on him; His indignation hangs over him continually.]

You may ask, “Why is it so critical to share my Christian faith with others? Isn’t faith only a matter of choice? Aren’t there many choices of what to believe?”

The verse above gives no alternative. One must believe in Jesus Christ or miss out on eternal life. Jesus really is the only way to heaven. Acts 4:12  And there is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved.

If there was any other way to get to heaven without believing in Jesus, then Jesus did not need to come from heaven and die a horrendous death on the cross!

IT TAKES FAITH TO SHARE YOUR FAITH

Faith is the confident assurance that God’s word is true. It’s backed up by your own life changing experience of God’s love. Your story of how God revealed Himself to you is called your testimony. It is the real life current evidence that God is real to you! Paul gave great value to the evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit as a proof of God’s truth. 1 Cor 2:4 And my language and my message were not set forth in persuasive (enticing and plausible) words of wisdom, but they were in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit and power [a proof by the Spirit and power of God, operating on me and stirring in the minds of my hearers the most holy emotions and thus persuading them],

Do you believe that Jesus really is the only way to eternal life? If so how does that impact how you treat people?

IT TAKES FAITH TO SHARE YOUR FAITH

When your faith is strong:

  • You know your Salvation is so real. You have incredible joy, and you know that you have passed from death to life and from living in darkness to light!
  • You know that hell is a real place and to be avoided at all cost. The bridge is out and people are driving towards it. What will you do?
  • You love people because everyone is precious to God, you see them as lost and outside God’s protection. Would you go the extra mile to help someone find Jesus?
  • You are passionate to do His will. He has specifically asked you to share the gospel with everyone you know. Matt 28:19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

HOW DO YOU STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH SO THAT YOU CAN SHARE IT?

  1.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you and fill you. You need supernatural help.
  2. Learn more about this amazing salvation we have. Read your bible as much as you can.
  3. Just start. – Tell your story to someone today.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Can we expect to have assurance of our salvation?

2. What are we actually saved from?

3. If God’s love reached out to us to seek and save us then how would that impact how we act towards others?

4. What if someone doesn’t want to know about Jesus?

5.  What is the role of the Holy Spirit in your faith sharing?

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LOVE CONQUERS #1AMLove Conquers Combined 150 ppi

Love is the greatest force on earth. At times when we feel that love has gone or been defeated, it rises again to overcome indomitable forces. All love comes from God. God is love and human love is the shadow of divine love. God’s kind of love is a selfless love, a love that is given expecting nothing in return. A love bestowed upon mankind undeserved. A love poured out without reservation and independent of the worthiness of the recipients.

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].  (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 AMP)

When your day seems like it couldn’t get any worse; your greatest hope is love, because Love Conquers anything and everything. Are you facing a firestorm of conflict and broken relationships? Are people speaking against you and saying outright lies to condemn and vilify you? Then Love is waiting for you and Love Conquers. This Love of God, so freely available to your heart, will fill you so that you can overcome anything and everything that comes your way. Jesus has given you the supernatural power to love the bitterest of enemies. His love in you will always conquer.

Jesus came into this world to save sinners. We did not deserve His love, but He came anyway. He came to give His life as a ransom for many. He had to endure the anger and bitter hostility of man against Him as He suffered and gave up His life for us that we may find hope and a way of salvation. Mankind is so broken by sin and so blind and often people cannot see that God even exists; yet God reaches out to each and every person with His great love to seek and to save those that are lost. Man was lost, so utterly lost. We were born into sin, there is no person on earth that walks in righteousness every day. We were so lost and nothing could save us, we had no hope, but love conquers and God made a way purely by love to rescue mankind and provide a way of escape from death and judgement. The cross is the story of Love Conquers.

My wife’s father is 83 and last week he received Jesus as his saviour. After so many years of belligerently opposing God and refusing to listen to the message of God’s love; now in his final days his defences all gone and hardened mind broken down, he responded like a little child and asked Jesus to forgive his sins and come into his life. He is saved today because Love Conquers. Is there a loved one you long to see come to Christ? Know this, that love conquers. There is no one so hard, so tough, so unreachable that love cannot breakthrough. You can rely on Love, you can hope in this all conquering love.

Whatever you face, love conquers, no matter how terrible and bleak the future seems, Love Conquers. No mountain is too high for love to climb; no valley so deep love can’t find the way; no fear so dreaded that Love can’t bring the flood of courage that brings you through. Love, God’s love, will make you conquer!!

As Jesus began His ministry he faced solid opposition from day one. One day in the temple He cured a man with a withered hand. A act of love, yet He was accused of healing or effectively “working” on the Sabbath. In other words He was accused of sin. The religious leaders who were supposed to be helping people and leading them to God were so often mired in self-righteousness and judgementalism so that people were put off knowing God. Jesus kept on loving and giving in the face of blind opposition and evil intent. He never gave up because Love Conquers!

Jesus kept on sharing the good news of God’s love, for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life; yet he faced opposition at every turn. He was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners. These were the very people He wanted to reach out to and heal and show them a way of righteousness, but He was condemned by ignorant and wicked men.

Is your mountain that you face the thoughts in your mind? Are you so burdened with an inner struggle with your own thoughts that you are way past being just troubled, but really you are stuck! Love Conquers. This message is for you. There is no trouble so big that God’s love can’t meet that challenge. There is no difficulty so huge that God’s love cannot lead you through and out the other side to a place of life and peace. You can reach out to God and receive His love. It is a conquering love. To conquer the really massive things, the insurmountable things, the impossible things. All our hope is in His great love. It works!!

 11 If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and [a]advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father Who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give good and [b]advantageous things to those who [c]keep on asking Him! Matt 7:11 (AMP)

Later at Jesus’ trial, they spoke outright lies to condemn Him saying He made Himself out to be king and threatened to tear down the temple. At these times He remained silent and did not answer His accusers. Pilate said, “I find no fault in this man.” Yet the crowd screamed for His blood. The unrighteousness of man was never more brazenly displayed as when the people of Jerusalem cried out to Pilate, “Crucify him” over and over again. This was their Messiah, the one who was prophesied to come for centuries. Yet they rose up in anger and called for His blood. “His blood be upon us” they cried, fully taking responsibility for death of the saviour. He was bound and lashed with the stroke of a whip. That whip that was a devilishly ingenious tool of ultimate torture, which flayed the skin to the bone with its lead pieces tied into the leather thong. Over and over they stroked Jesus till His whole torso was a bloody mess of broken skin and muscle exposed.

Yet He did not cry out for release, because Love Conquers. With every lash stroke the temptation was to give up, to say “that’s enough”; to want to the angels to come and rescue Him from this murderous torture. But the more man kept punishing the saviour of the world, the more He kept on going with enduring such contradiction of sinners against himself.

2 He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds. Hebrews 12:2b-3 (AMP)

They nailed His hands, His feet, to the cross. In acute agony He cried not for release and not against his tormentors, but to ask for their forgiveness, “They know not what they do.” He said, because Love conquers. And love conquered the power of sin in mankind.

16 For I will not contend forever, neither will I be angry always, for [if I did stay angry] the spirit [of man] would faint and be consumed before Me, and [My purpose in] creating the souls of men would be frustrated. Isaiah 57:16(AMP)

Finally they raised the cross and lifted high the Son of God. They continued to mock Him. “Save yourself.” they cried, “if you be the Son of God!” Such dishonour, such venom, was it not enough for Jesus to say, “Enough, away with them.”? No, He endured, He continued in love because Love Conquers and love conquered the unrighteousness of man.

Are you facing a diagnosis of death? Is your doctor and medical tests saying all the wrong things about your future? Remember Love Conquers, Jesus took the stroke of the whip on His back so that by faith you can say, “By His stripes I am healed”.

Even I His dying moments one man, a thief, railed against Jesus and mocked Him. He still continued, could any man be His strength and support at this horrendous hour, no; none stood with Him, He was completely alone. He endured the savagery of the cross and the utter rejection of His own creation because of sin and He never flagged, but kept on going with grace and love because Love Conquers.

Love never gives up. You can count on love. If Jesus went to the cross and died for you when all the while you knew not how great His love was or even had the desire to receive Him, then how much more will He come to your aid now that you have yielded your life to Him?

10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more [certain], now that we are reconciled, that we shall be saved (daily delivered from sin’s dominion) through His [[g]resurrection] life.

11 Not only so, but we also rejoice and exultingly glory in God [in His love and perfection] through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have now received and enjoy [our] reconciliation. Rom 5:10-11 (AMP)

What are you facing today?

A mountain of debt? A tumult of conflict? A wasteland of doubt? A symphony of mental anguish? An unbelievable diagnosis of pain and sickness?

Then be persuaded, be convinced, be consumed by the courage of love. Love is your answer. Love will carry you through.

LOVE CONQUERS THE HARDEST HEART

LOVE CONQUERS THE GREATEST OFFENCE

LOVE CONQUERS HATRED AGAINST YOU

LOVE CONQUERS THE DEEPEST SORROW

LOVE CONQUERS THE MOST DIFFICULT JOURNEY

LOVE CONQUERS THE LONGEST DELAY

LOVE CONQUERS THE SADDEST NEWS.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. The bible says, “God is Love”. What does this mean to you?

2. What is the biggest challenge you are facing or have faced?

3. What is God’s best outcome for you in that Challenge?

4. You can rely on God’s love to see you through, how can you receive that love?

5. How can you love one another with God’s love to give support to each other in conquering the difficulties?

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LOVE UNCONDITIONAL #4PMdepression

When everything goes wrong…..

They say bad news comes in threes, but for some people it seems to just keep on coming…

Everyone feels overwhelmed at times, so how do you handle that when it comes?

One good friend of mine arrived home to see his house going up in flames. His reaction? God is good!

Ps 61:2 From the end of the earth will I cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed and fainting; lead me to the rock that is higher than I [yes, a rock that is too high for me].

Ps 142:3 When my spirit was overwhelmed and fainted [throwing all its weight] upon me, then You knew my path. In the way where I walk they have hidden a snare for me.

God knows exactly how you feel. Heb 4:13 And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, naked and defenceless to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.

14 Inasmuch then as we have a great High Priest Who has [already] ascended and passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith in Him].

15 For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning.

16 Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].

 

David calls out to God in the depth of his despair.

Ps 6:6 I am weary with my groaning; all night I soak my pillow with tears, I drench my couch with my weeping.

Ps 42:5 Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God.

O my God, my life is cast down upon me [and I find the burden more than I can bear]; therefore will I [earnestly] remember You from the land of the Jordan [River] and the [summits of Mount] Hermon, from the little mountain Mizar.

[Roaring] deep calls to [roaring] deep at the thunder of Your waterspouts; all Your breakers and Your rolling waves have gone over me.

Yet the Lord will command His loving-kindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, a prayer to the God of my life.

I will say to God my Rock, Why have You forgotten me? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

 

Ps 116:1 I love the Lord, because He has heard [and now hears] my voice and my supplications.

Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live.

The cords and sorrows of death were around me, and the terrors of Sheol (the place of the dead) had laid hold of me; I suffered anguish and grief (trouble and sorrow).

Then called I upon the name of the Lord: O Lord, I beseech You, save my life and deliver me!

Gracious is the Lord, and [rigidly] righteous; yes, our God is merciful.

 

Does it surprise you that a person who was such a great and accomplished leader went through such a time of deep depression?

My darkest moments

I wasn’t when my I was sick, it wasn’t when others in my family fell ill, it wasn’t when I lost money in a bad investment…. It was when I thought I had failed God.

Jesus knows and cares about your darkest days. He carried the weight and the pain of it all. The cross is the place where Jesus bore all the difficulties and troubles that weigh down your soul.

Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him.

Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.

When you are feeling overwhelmed then it’s time to turn to Jesus and receive His love. When you consciously acknowledge that He carried all that weight for you, then cast all your cares upon Him because He cares for you. Meditate on what He has done for you at the cross. Meditate on how much He loves you and how He knows your situation and how you feel. Roll your burden onto Him and enter into His rest.  (Read and mediate on Hebrews 4)    If you believe you cant handle your feelings go to see your doctor for further advice. Try also this website – http://www.beyondblue.org.au/ 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Why are feelings so difficult to handle – they are only feelings?

2. Can a person who suffers with depression still achieve great things?

3. Would you say King David suffered with depression?

4. Did Jesus know these down feelings?

5. How can we receive the answer from God when we feel down?

 

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